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Coronavirus Outbreak Live Updates: Keep Up With The Latest Headlines

Benzinga Staff

The coronavirus pandemic has dominated headlines for the better part of 2020.

Keep up to date by checking this live blog every day for major updates related to COVID-19 and its impact on the world economy, U.S. markets and the health of the global population. 

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All times are in Eastern Daylight Time.

The Latest News On Coronavirus: US surgeon general warns 'this week, it's going to get bad'

March 23, 1:15 p.m.: 

The war against coronavirus has intensified across the country as more workers are laid off, medical supplies dwindle, and states enact new rules to get Americans to stay home.

"I want America to understand -- this week, it's going to get bad," US Surgeon General Jerome Adams told NBC's "Today" show Monday. "We really, really need everyone to stay at home. I think that there are a lot of people who are doing the right things, but ... we're finding out a lot of people think this can't happen to them."

March 23, 12:17 p.m.: Senators and senior Trump administration officials were scrambling on Monday to strike a deal on a $1.8 trillion measure to bolster the economy, after Democrats blocked action on the package on Sunday, demanding stronger protections for workers and restrictions for bailed-out businesses.

The vote on Sunday shook markets around the globe and threatened to derail bipartisan talks that had yielded substantial compromises over the outlines of the package, which is emerging as the largest economic stimulus measure in modern history.

March 23, 11:30 a.m.: The hunt for masks, ventilators and other medical supplies consumed the U.S. and Europe, as more than 1.5 billion people — one-fifth of the world’s population — were asked or ordered to stay home on Monday to try to blunt the spread of the coronavirus. Political paralysis stalled efforts for a quick aid package from Congress, and U.S. stocks fell at the opening bell even after the Federal Reserve said it will buy as much government debt as necessary and lend to small and large businesses and local governments to help them cope with the economic damage from the outbreak.

March 23, 4:00 a.m.: According to the data from Germany's influential Information and Forschung research, the outburst of coronavirus could cost the economy from €255 to €729 billion in the year 2020.

The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus is 22,672, with 86 fatal cases at press time.

March 23, 3:16 a.m.: The parent company of Primark announced that it would be closing all of its stores across the world, which would lead to a monthly loss of around $760 million worth of net sales. It added that it would stop placing new orders with suppliers. The company estimates that it will be able to recover around 50% of total operating costs.

March 23, 2:50 a.m.: Norway's foreign ministry announced on Monday that the United Nations would be creating a fund to support the treatment of coronavirus patients worldwide. The Fund will support developing countries with weak health systems and also handle the long-term consequences.

Across the world, almost 340,000 people have been infected by COVID-19, and more than 14,500 have died.

March 23, 2:22 a.m.: On Monday, Airbus announced a €15 billion credit facility to strengthen its liquidity access amid the pandemic’s impact on the global aerospace industry. To protect the future of the company, the aircraft manufacturer added that it would pull out its 2019 dividend proposal with a total cash value of almost €1.4 billion.  

March 23, 1:55 a.m.: The South Korea auto industry, which employs almost 12% of the country's workforce, will be supported by the government amid the outbreak of the coronavirus. It would provide logistical and financial support, speed up customs clearance, arrange freight transportation, and liquidity support.

With a warning of disruptions to supply chains from Europe and the United States, South Korean exports are expected to diminish in April and May after rising 10% year-on-year in the first 20 days of March.

March 22, 10:19 p.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated for the first time on Monday that he may consider postponing the Summer Olympics 2020 from its earlier scheduled date of July 24. The announcement comes amid many countries and athletes seeking for the games to be postponed.

March 22, 10:11 p.m.: Canada is the first country to withdraw its athletes from the Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled for the summer of 2020. Amid the rising coronavirus fears, unless the games are postponed, the country would not send their athletes, The Canadian Olympic Committee said.

"This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health," Team Canada said in a statement.

March 22, 9:47 p.m.: The Federal government has activated the National Guard to aid the three worst-hit states in the U.S. - New York, California, and Washington, against the COVID-19 impact, President Donald Trump announced. 

March 22, 8:59 p.m.: Led by the deep impact of the coronavirus epidemic, a record 30.1% drop is expected in the U.S. gross domestic product in the second quarter, as estimated by Morgan Stanley economists.

With economic activity coming to a halt, unemployment is also expected to come in at an average of 12.8% for the quarter.

March 22: A more than $1-trillion coronavirus relief bill failed a procedural vote in the Senate Sunday evening.

Democrats had objected to the bill's provisions, with CNBC reporting that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation had "many, many problems" and benefited corporations more than hospitals, health care workers, cities and states. 

Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, announced Sunday that he tested positive for the virus. 

March 22, 6:51 p.m.: S&P 500 futures fell by 5% and hit limit down Sunday. Dow Jones futures were down 5.01% at the time of publication and Nasdaq futures were down 4.88%.  

March 22, 3:18 p.m.: The U.S. unemployment rate could reach 30% in the second quarter and the gross domestic product could fall by half, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said in an interview published Sunday by Bloomberg. 

“This is a planned, organized partial shutdown of the U.S. economy in the second quarter,”  he told the publication. “The overall goal is to keep everyone, households and businesses, whole.”

March 22, 12:58 p.m.: 3M Co (NYSE: MMM) Chairman and CEO Mike Roman said more than 500,000 respirators are en route from the company's South Dakota plant to New York and Seattle.

The company has ramped up N95 respirator production levels to the max and doubled output to a rate of 1.1 billion per year, Roman said in a statement. Of the 35 million respirators being produced per month in the U.S., 90% are designated for health care workers, and the remainder are going to other critical industries such as energy, food and pharmaceutical companies, he said. 

"Like everyone, I see the pleas from our heroic doctors, nurses and first responders for the respirators and other equipment they desperately need. I want people to know we are doing all we can to meet the demands of this extraordinary time and get supplies from our plants to where they’re most needed as quickly as possible."

March 21: The FDA said Saturday that it issued an emergency use authorization for the Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 test. 

The test will give Americans results in hours rather than days, and Cepheid is planning to roll the test out by March 30, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. 

"With new tools like point-of-care diagnostics, we are moving into a new phase of testing, where tests will be much more easily accessible to Americans who need them."

March 20, 2:50 p.m.: Olympic Swimmer Jacob Pebly Calls To Suspend Olympic Swimming Trials

 

March 20: 4 Senators Dumped Millions In Stock Weeks Before Coronavirus Pandemic Hit U.S.

Republican senators Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler and James Inhofe, along with democrat Dianne Feinstein, dumped stocks worth millions ahead of the financial markets plunge in the United States in February, multiple reports suggested Thursday.

March 20, 2:02 a.m.: According to the National Health Commission, China recorded 39 new imported cases on Friday. Out of these, 14 were found in Guangdong, eight in Shanghai, and six in Beijing.

China's current focus is to protect the mainland from foreign cases as the coronavirus Europe and North America spread is spreading at an unprecedented pace.

March 20, 2:00 a.m.: Whole Foods employee was detected positive with the coronavirus and was placed under quarantine. The store located in New York City was closed early Wednesday for additional cleaning and disinfection.

Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh said that they continue to be operational nationwide, with deliveries being limited due to increased demand.

March 20, 1:38 a.m.:  According to the data compiled by AFP from official sources, Italy (3,405 deaths) has surpassed China (3,245 deaths) with the biggest deaths from coronavirus. On Thursday alone, 427 fatalities were recorded.

As the toll surged in Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the national lockdown would be extended till April 3.

March 20, 1:23 a.m.: Four republican senators are being accused of offloading millions of dollars in stocks after being briefed on the coronavirus outbreak, The Sun reported. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, and Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe are the four names.

March 19, 10:17 p.m.: In order to support U.S. businesses, its employees and the American public, Senate Republicans on Thursday formally announced a  trillion economic stimulus plan.

The package would include direct payments to Americans under a certain income threshold, $200 billion in loans to airlines and distressed industry sectors, and $300 billion in forgivable bridge loans for small businesses.

March 19, 10:04 p.m.: California Governor has issued a statewide stay-at-home order starting Thursday evening for its 40 million residents. Similar orders have been issued in the past few days across the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles. Residents are ordered to leave home only for essential activities.

As of Thursday, confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. stood at 11,500.

March 19, 9:55 p.m.: The U.S. Department of Energy plans to buy up to 30 million barrels of crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) by the end of June.

This is in accordance with President Donald Trump's directive to fill the emergency stockpile supporting domestic crude producers.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Fox Business that amid dropping prices due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he would tell Trump to take advantage of low oil prices and ask Congress for $10 billion to $20 billion to fill up the SPR for the long term.

March 19, 9:10 p.m.: Amid the already plunging stock markets led by the coronavirus outbreak, Donald Trump's administration has ordered state labor officials to delay the release of the exact unemployment figures.

Protecting the public and financial market sentiment, the Labor Department has been instructed to provide information using generalities to describe claims levels like - very high, large increase.

March 19, 9:06 p.m.: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE: TEVA) announced that it would immediately donate 6 million doses of malaria med hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets through wholesalers to U.S. hospitals in order to support the medication for COVID-19. The company expects to ship these by the end of March, and it would ship more than 10 million tablets within a month’s time.

March 19, 7:06 p.m.: As per the White House statement, President Donald Trump has annulled the in-person G7 summit amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The summit, which was scheduled for June at the David Camp, will now be conducted through a video teleconference.

As of Thursday, confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. stood at 11,500.

March 19, 4:06 p.m.: The U.S. State Department is warning American citizens to avoid all international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

March 19, 3:04 p.m.: The federal government is preparing for the possibility the coronavirus pandemic could last up to 18 months or longer and "include multiple waves of illness," a report obtained by CNN shows, as the number of the cases in the US surpassed 11,000. While the document does not say the Trump administration believes the pandemic will last that long, it indicates officials have to assume a longer timeline to ensure preparedness.

March 19, 11:46 a.m.: Headlines From President Trump's Press Conference

  • Trump Says Will Be Able To Make Malaria Drug 'Almost Immediately' By Prescriptions Or Through States
  • Trump Says U.S. Is Also Pursuing Anti-Viral Therapies In Addition To Vaccines
  • Trump Discusses Melaria Treatment Hydroxychloroquine, Sold Under Brand Name Plaquenil (Among Others) By Teva (NASDAQ: TEVA) As Potential Treatment For Coronavirus
  • Trump Mentions Regeneron At Coronavirus Task Force Presser, Discusses Gilead (NASDAQ: GILD) As Near Approval Via FDA, Then Highlights Regeneron Trial (NASDAQ: REGN)

March 18, 11:52 p.m.: The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cut interest rates to a record low 0.25% after slashing the rate to 0.5% earlier this month. It also announced a money-printing program for the first time in its history to combat the coronavirus-driven recession

The RBA will buy Australian government bonds as part of its first-ever quantitative easing program, and provide a three-year funding facility to provide cheap loans for Australian banks.

March 18, 11:12 p.m.: As per the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications data, Japan's core consumer price index (inflation), which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, grew 0.6% in February.

Amid falling energy prices and the coronavirus outbreak, the pace was slower than an 0.8% rise in January and matched economists’ median estimate for a 0.6% rise.

March 18, 11:04 p.m.: New York City now has 1,871 cases of the COVID-19 with 11 deaths, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in an interview on Wednesday. He also clarified his stance on sheltering in place after telling New Yorkers on Tuesday that they should be prepared to do so in order to stem the spread of the virus.

March 18, 10 p.m.: For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, Wuhan, China reported no new cases on Wednesday and Hubei has had no new infections for almost two weeks. 

As per the state-backed China Daily, the city at the epicenter of the outbreak is expected to see new coronavirus infections dry up by mid-to-late March and the lockdown of the city may be lifted once there are no new cases for 14 days.

March 18, 9:50 pm: Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) said it is suspending production at its factories effective Wednesday through March 29. The move, which came in after one of its workers was infected with the coronavirus, will impact around 2,000 employees at its U.S. factories. 

Employees will be temporarily laid off but would still receive medical benefits.

March 18, 5:10 p.m.: Italy recorded 475 deaths due to the coronavirus in a single day, the highest since the outbreak. Italy is the world's most affected country after China, with almost 3,000 deaths to date.

Italy has a total of 35,713 confirmed cases. More than 4,000 people there have recovered. 

March 18, 4:46 p.m.: After two people tested positive for the coronavirus at NYSE screenings set up this week, the exchange decided that effective March 23 it will temporarily close its historic trading floor and move fully to electronic trading.

This is the first time the physical trading floor of the Big Board has ever shut independently while electronic trading continues.

As of Wednesday, confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surged to 7,324 in total, with the death toll climbing to 115, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

March 18, 8:45 p.m.: Trump signed a bill providing paid sick leave, free testing and other benefits. A relief package to provide sick leave, unemployment benefits, free coronavirus testing, and food and medical aid to people affected by the pandemic, was signed into law by Trump Wednesday evening after the Senate passed it by a wide margin. It was approved by the House last week.

March 18, 8:45 p.m.: Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams have become the first members of Congress to test positive for coronavirus, a grim new indicator of the virus' aggressive spread. "On Saturday evening, Congressman Diaz-Balart developed symptoms including a fever and headache. Just a short while ago, he was notified that he has tested positive for COVID-19," his office said in a news release. The Florida Republican said in a statement that he is "feeling much better" but urged the public to take the virus "extremely seriously."

March 18, 4:12 p.m.: The Senate passed the House’s coronavirus aid package on Wednesday, sending it to President Trump, who is expected to sign it. 

Senators voted 90-8 on the bill that passed the House in a middle-of-the-night Saturday vote but needed dozens of pages of corrections and changes, which cleared the chamber on Monday. 

The measure, which the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates will cost $104 billion, is the second package that Congress has passed amid growing concerns about the widespread coronavirus outbreak in the United States that has already bludgeoned the economy.

March 18, 2:27 p.m.: The Big 3 Detroit car companies have agreed to temporarily shut down factories in the U.S. to protect workers against the rapidly spreading coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter, in an unprecedented work stoppage that will affect more than 150,000 factory employees.

March 18, 2:15 p.m.: Vice President Pence said during a White House press conference Wednesday that hospitals should move to delay elective procedures, as the nation's medical system scrambles to deal with those sickened by the coronavirus.

Also: The White House is asking Congress for a $1 trillion coronavirus relief and economic stimulus plan that would include industry-specific bailouts and payments to individual taxpayers.

March 18, 12:49 p.m.: President Donald Trump said during Wednesday's White House press briefing that he will be invoking the Defense Production Act to help make up for potential medical supply shortages as the US battles the coronavirus pandemic.

March 18, 11:22 a.m.: Cannes Film Festival has been postponed until October, according to a statement by Cannes organizers. The festival, originally scheduled for June 22 through 26, said it now plans to reschedule to October 26 through 30. Conference organizers said earlier that passes, sponsorship arrangements, and bookings will roll over and remain valid.

March 18, 10:01 a.m.: The U.S. and Canada will mutually close their borders for non-essential travel, as announced by President Trump on twitter.

March 18, 2:55 a.m.: Chinese medical authorities have revealed that a drug - favipiravir, used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appeared to be effective in coronavirus patients. The drug, which was developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm Toyota Chemical, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients.

Patients, with mild and moderate symptoms of the coronavirus, given this medicine, turned negative in a median of four days as compared to 11 days without the drug. Japanese health ministry source suggested the drug was not as effective in people with more severe symptoms.

March 18, 12:27 a.m.: According to the International Air Transport Association, the global airline industry needs government aid and bailout measures totaling between $150 billion and $200 billion in order to survive the coronavirus crisis.

The warning came as governments around the world indicated that they're actively exploring proposals to save airlines, with Italy's plans to re-nationalize Alitalia among the most advanced. 

March 18, 12:21 a.m.: As per Goldman Sachs Research estimates, the global GDP growth forecast for 2020 was cut to 1.25%, implying a recession worse than the one seen in 1991 and 2001. Amid the coronavirus spread, disruptions to the global economy are increasing.

The bank now sees the U.S. economy contracting by 5% in the second quarter and has slashed China's first-quarter estimate to -9% year-on-year from +2.5% previously.

March 17, 11:43 p.m.: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday declared a “human biosecurity emergency” and said the country’s citizens should abandon all overseas travel because of the coronavirus epidemic. The formal declaration gives the government the power to close off cities or regions, impose curfews, and order people to quarantine, if deemed necessary.

Australia has recorded around nearly 500 coronavirus infections and six deaths.

March 17, 11:26 p.m.: Amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus, department stores Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Saks Fifth Avenue are closing all stores while keeping online stores open. All the stores would remain closed for two weeks unless otherwise instructed by the government or public health officials.

Macy's said it would close all stores, including Bloomingdale's locations, through March 31 and provide benefits and compensation to its impacted workforce.

March 17, 11:00 p.m.: Finance Ministry data released on Wednesday revealed that Japan’s February exports slipped 1% year-over-year for the 15th consecutive month. This was mainly due to a decline in U.S. and China-bound shipments of cars and metal processing machinery, respectively, amid the coronavirus epidemic.

Imports from China slumped 47.1% from the previous year, seeing their biggest drop since August 1986. This led to Japan's trade balance recording a surplus of $10.34 billion, largest since September 2007.

March 17, 10:51 p.m.: After the Philippines closed its financial markets on Tuesday, the country exempted its financial trading platforms from strict coronavirus quarantine procedures and paved the way for stock trading resumption from Thursday.

The currency and bond markets were allowed to reopen as early as Wednesday, although they are yet to announce an exact date.

March 17, 10:35 p.m.: Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) on Tuesday sought for $60 billion in government loan guarantees and other assistance for the struggling U.S. aerospace manufacturing industry, which faces huge losses from the coronavirus pandemic.

It further added that it needs significant government support to meet liquidity needs as it cannot raise that in current market conditions.

March 17, 10:30 p.m.: According to a report by Jack Myers, the coronavirus outbreak is likely to erode as much as billion from the advertising and marketing budgets in 2020. Myers, who has been tracking the ad spend market since the 1980s, has tripled his forecast from the earlier estimated $1 billion.

With people forced to spend more time at home, streaming video platforms like Hulu, Pluto, Roku, and Direct TV could see ad spending grow 42% higher than the earlier estimated 38% growth.

March 17, 10:22 p.m.: European football’s governing body UEFA said that it would be delaying the European Championship until 2021, due to be played in June-July 2020.

The announcement came after UEFA held crisis talks with national associations as well as clubs and players bodies via videoconference, as Europe is combating the coronavirus pandemic. With the postponement, all domestic competitions currently on hold due to the can now be completed as they have a commitment to finish club seasons by June 30.

March 17, 10:15 p.m.: The global dairy auction saw prices plunging to their lowest level in more than a year as the coronavirus outbreak disturbed buying. The average price at the overnight auction fell 3.95 to $2980 a tonne, following the 1.2% fall in the previous auction two weeks ago.

March 17, 9:52 p.m.: World Bank on Tuesday said that it had increased its fast-track financing for members to combat the global coronavirus epidemic by $2 billion, taking the total amount to $14 billion.

A significant portion of the funding would be used by client financial institutions so that they can continue to offer trade financing, working capital, and medium-term financing to private firms struggling with disruptions in supply chains.

March 17, 9:37 p.m.: With the coronavirus outbreak leading to the shift of dates in French Open, the U.S. Open also followed suit, saying it’s open to the “possibility of moving the tournament to a later date.” Roland Garros pushed its dates ahead by almost three months.

The Open said it would make such a move only in “full consultation with the other Grand Slam tournaments, the WTA and ATP, the ITF, and its partners, including the Laver Cup.”

March 17, 9:21 p.m.: At its annual shareholders' meeting on Wednesday, South Korea tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said that it expects higher demand and limited supply for computer chips despite the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S.-China trade war damaging major markets in Europe and the U.S.

March 17, 9:00 p.m.: American Chamber of Commerce in South China survey shows 32% of firms in China’s southern manufacturing hub are facing a supply shortage, while 15% have already run out of some supplies driven by the widespread coronavirus.

Supplies from within China have been most disrupted, followed by the United States, Asia Pacific, and the European Union. However, the situation within China is expected to recover quickly, while global disruption is expected to worsen as the virus spreads.

March 17, 7:25 p.m.: Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) suffered a massive bug in its News Feed spam filter that blocked links to legitimate websites, including Medium, Buzzfeed, and USA Today. The issue blocked shares of some but not all coronavirus-related content, while some unrelated links are allowed through, and others are not.

A company spokesperson said that they are looking into the matter and working as quickly as possible to share information.

March 17: 4:07 p.m.: Four Nets players test positive for COVID-19. 

“Of the four, one player is exhibiting symptoms while three are asymptomatic,” the team added in a statement. “All four players are presently isolated and under the care of team physicians.”

March 17, 11:51 a.m.: UK confirmed #coronavirus cases rise 26% to 1,950 in past 24 hours

March 17: Trump Administration Pitches 0-Billion Coronavirus Stimulus Package

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will ask Senate Republicans for an $850-billion stimulus package on Tuesday intended to tackle the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

This plan includes roughly $50 billion for the struggling airline industry, the newspaper said.

March 17, 4:22 a.m.: Volkswagen confirmed on Tuesday that its European plants are preparing for a shutdown of at least two weeks, mainly led by supply-chain constraints amidst coronavirus outbreak.

The carmaker confirmed that 31 of its 33 Chinese production sites were back up-and-running. The company refused to issue a precise outlook for 2020, saying, "it is virtually impossible to issue a reliable forecast."

March 17, 3:26 a.m.: France Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday that the country's measures to help companies and employees fight the coronavirus storm would cost €45 billion. Also, ammunition would include €300 billion of French state guarantees for bank loans to businesses.

Mr. Le Maire added that the French government was assuming the economy would narrow down by almost 1% in 2020, instead of growing more than 1% as earlier estimated.

March 17, 2:00 a.m.: U.S. drugmaker Pfizer has signed a deal with Germany's BioNTech SE to co-develop a potential vaccine for the coronavirus using BioNTech's mRNA-based drug development platform, the companies said on Tuesday.

March 17, 12:23 a.m.: Thailand recorded 30 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking the total to 177, an official from the Ministry of Public Health said. He further added that Eleven of the new cases are connected to a crowded boxing match that saw a large number of coronavirus cases, while other cases are those that worked closely with foreigners.

March 17, 12:19 a.m.: Amazon.com announced that it would hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the U.S. in order to handle the rising online orders. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, many consumers have turned to the web to meet their needs.

Like Amazon, U.S. supermarket chains Albertsons, Kroger and Raley's have sought new hires to staff busy sections and fulfill online orders.

March 17, 12:17 a.m.: Tesla CEO Elon Musk told its employees in an email that they don't have to come to work if they're sick or concerned about the coronavirus. To his knowledge, Musk said that no Tesla employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

"Much is made of public gatherings, but please be cautious of family gatherings, too," he said. "What is relatively harmless to a child can be dangerous to grandparents."

March 16, 11:45 p.m.: Japan's economy narrowed at a 7.1% annualized rate in October-December with economists expecting another contraction in the current period.

According to the Reuters Tankan survey, Japanese business confidence plunged to decade lows in March amid the coronavirus outbreak. The sentiment index at manufacturers fell to minus 20 in March from minus 5 in the previous month, while the service-sector gauge dropped 25 points to minus 10, the poll showed. A negative figure means pessimists outnumber optimists.

March 16, 11:18 p.m.: As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe and more governments lock down borders, there is a clear shift in the epicenter with cases outside China surpassing those inside it.

The central Chinese city of Wuhan that was the former epicenter where the viral illness was first detected in December, was down to just one new case on Tuesday. Overall, China reported 21 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, 20 of them imported.

China this week relaxed travel restrictions in Hubei, sending thousands of workers back to long-shuttered factories. 

March 16, 11:06 p.m.: According to the state planner, China’s economy will return to normal in the second quarter as government support measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus epidemic take effect. 

Officials from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) also told reporters during a briefing that China has ample policy tools and will roll out relevant measures at an appropriate time.

March 16, 9:47 p.m.: In response to the wide impact of the coronavirus epidemic, the Philippines became the first country to halt its stock, bond and currency trading effective Tuesday, until further notice. The virus has infected at least 140 people in the Philippines and killed a dozen.

The US-listed exchange-traded fund that tracks the Philippine market plunged 19.5% on Monday after the bourse announced it was shutting.

March 16, 9:14 p.m.: As the coronavirus spreads rapidly across the U.S., The House unanimously passed a revised coronavirus emergency bill sending it to the Senate to take it up. The Senate could take up The House's multi-billion package as early as Tuesday.

March 16, 9:33 p.m.: Amid the battle to combat the coronavirus outbreak, New Zealand has announced a .1 billion (representing 4% of GDP) economic rescue package. A major share of $5.1 billion will be for wage subsidies for affected businesses in all sectors and regions, effective Tuesday.

A dedicated $500 million fund for health was also announced. It includes extra intensive care capacity and equipment for hospitals, support for GPs and primary care and improving video conferencing and telehealth consultations.

March 16, 7:46 p.m.: To combat the coronavirus outbreak, the California Legislature approved up to billion in new spending on Monday and further suspended work for the next month amid efforts to contain the illness.

Lawmakers agreed on Monday to stay away until April 13, the first unexpected work stoppage in 158 years. But legislative leaders in either chamber can decide to reconvene, and they can extend the recess if necessary.

March 16, 4:00 p.m.: President Trump has advised to not hold gatherings of more than 10 individuals for the next 15 days. He also said the economy might already be in a recession and that the CDC has recommended people stop visiting bars and restaurants, but he didn't go as far as to mandate that they shut down.

March 16, 2:45 p.m.: Actor Idris Elba announces he has tested positive for COVID-19

March 16, 2:00 p.m.: The MLB has announced it is suspending opening season:

March 16, 12:56 p.m.: Coronavirus vaccine test opens as U.S. volunteer gets first shot, according to The Associated Press.

March 16, 9:30 a.m.: Trading was halted at the market open as the S&P fell down 7% and triggered a ciruit breaker.

March 16, 8:51 a.m.: Health and Human Services has suffered a cyber attack, according to Bloomberg. 

"The attack appears to have been intended to slow the agency’s systems down, but didn’t do so in any meaningful way, said the people, who asked for anonymity to discuss an incident that was not public"

March 16, 4:24 a.m.: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Monday that the government would create a $4 billion anti-crisis fund to shield its economy from the coronavirus epidemic.

He further added that new support measures would include tax breaks for tourism and airline companies and that Russia would expand its preferential loans program for businesses.

Russia may miss its growth targets this year as a sharp drop in the oil price, the country's main export, has led the ruble sinking to four-year lows against the dollar.

March 16, 4:00 a.m.: With retail, manufacturing sectors facing rising input costs, an outbreak of coronavirus is estimated to cost the Egyptian economy $6.4 billion in the first quarter.

Tourism, aviation and real estate sectors were impacted the most, according to Abdel El Moneem El Sayed, Chairman of Cairo Centre for Economic and Strategic Studies.  

"If the economic impact spills over into the second quarter, this figure is expected to double," he further added.

March 16, 3:03 a.m.: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday revealed a year-over-year dip of 13.5% in China industrial output for January - February, during the coronavirus outbreak. It's the fastest pace of decline in three decades, which reflects greater damage than the global financial crisis. 

China’s jobless rate rose to 6.2% in February, compared with 5.2% in December and the highest since the official records were published.

March 16, 3:00 a.m.: New York and Los Angeles city mayors ordered restaurants, gyms, theaters, bars and movie theaters closed in an effort to contain the epidemic. Only via delivery or take-out options would be available for selling food.

Separately, New York City would shut the U.S. largest public school system as early as Tuesday, sending over 1.1 million children home. MGM resorts announced that all Las Vegas casinos would be closed until further notice.

March 16, 1:30 a.m.: After the U.S. interest rate cut overnight, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided on additional easing measures at a policy board meeting on Monday amid coronavirus outbreak.

BOJ decided to raise the annual corporate bond purchase target by ¥2 trillion and to introduce a new corporate loan plan.

March 16, 1:15 a.m.: Turkey Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Monday that the country had recorded 12 new cases making it the highest daily rise since it announced its first case last week.

March 16, 12:34 a.m.: While Google is still working on a coronavirus screening and tracking website, Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) Bing team has already launched a web portal for tracking COVID-19 infections worldwide.

The COVID-19 Tracker, accessible at bing.com/covid, currently lists 168,835 as total confirmed cases, 84,558 active cases, 77,761 recovered cases and 6,516 deaths. 

March 16, 12:07 a.m.: A clinical trial for a vaccine against the coronavirus will begin on Monday at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. The first participants (45 young, healthy volunteers) will be funded by the National Institutes of Health, and it would take 12 to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.

At the same time, Israeli scientists are on the verge of developing a vaccine themselves, The Jerusalem Post reported. They have been for the last four years already developing a vaccine against infectious bronchitis virus, which affects poultry.

March 15, 11:15 p.m.: Alphabet Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google has partnered with the U.S. government to launch a nationwide website on Monday dedicated to coronavirus health information, education, prevention, and local resources.

Also, Alphabet's life sciences company Verily is collaborating with the California Governor's office, federal, state and local public health authorities to launch a pilot of a COVID-19 testing website in the San Francisco Bay Area Monday. The pilot program will begin in the Bay Area because it has the highest volume of known cases.

March 15, 10:25 p.m.: The hardest hit in European countries, Italy recorded 368 new coronavirus deaths - its largest number of fatalities in a day since the start of the outbreak.

March 15, 9:44 p.m.: The Financial Services Forum, which represents eight of the nation's largest banks, agreed to stop buying back their own shares through the second quarter.

Amidst the coronavirus epidemic, the banks said that they would focus on supporting individuals, small businesses and the broader economy through lending and other important services. The eight banks, which include JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), had earlier decided to repurchase $119 billion of shares in the four quarters.

March 15, 9:35 p.m.: The Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe made a statement that "the bank stands ready to purchase Australian government bonds in the secondary market to support the smooth functioning of that market, which is a key pricing benchmark for the Australian financial system."

March 15, 9:13 p.m.: In the early stages of the 2020 Democratic debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, coronavirus dominated with the White House hopefuls portraying to be better equipped to handle the crisis than President Donald Trump.

March 15, 6:56 p.m.: With 14 new cases of the coronavirus in Australia's capital Victoria reported overnight, a state of emergency has been declared to contain the spread. Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and South Australia also declared a state of emergency as total cases in the continent stand at 300.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the national 14-day isolation sanction for all travelers into Australia.

March 15, 5:14 p.m.: The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates to 0-0.25% amid coronavirus pandemic.

March 15, 3:53 p.m.: According to Public Health England (PHE), every four in five are expected to contract the coronavirus in the U.K. With the epidemic rising, almost 80% of the population is estimated to be infected in the next 12 months. It may lead to 7.9 million (15% of the population) people requiring hospitalization lasting until next spring. 

Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, says, " it will dip in the summer, towards the end of June, and come back in November, in the way that usual seasonal flu does. I think it will be around forever, but become less severe over time, as immunity builds up.”

March 15, 2:20 p.m.: President Trump tested negative for the novel coronavirus. “Last night, after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed,” Sean Conley, the physician to the president, said in a statement released by the White House. “This evening I received confirmation that the test is negative.”

March 15, 9 a.m.: Nike (NYSE: NKE) will close its retail stores across the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand through March 27.

March 14, 5 p.m.: Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ: LULU) will shorten hours at its retail outlets and also suspend yoga classes and run clubs.

March 14, 12:31 p.m.: President Trump, at a Saturday White House press conference, says he has been tested for the coronavirus and the test will be completed in the next few days.

The Trump administration also confirmed it will be adding Ireland and the U.K. to the list of countries on the coronavirus travel ban.

March 14, 11 a.m.: Apple announced it will be closing all retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27.

March 13, 3:33 p.m.: President Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus. The emergency declaration will make $50 billion available for states, Trump said from the White House Rose Garden The money can be used for a variety of needs, such as paying for tests, supplies, vaccination and extra help from medical workers, he said.

March 13, 1:32 p.m.: Louisiana becomes first state to postpone Democratic primary.

#BREAKING Louisiana 1st US state to postpone Democratic primary over virus: official pic.twitter.com/hKPEo4QOEt

— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 13, 2020


March 13, 11:07 a.m.: President Trump announced he will hold a press conference at the White House at 3 p.m. EST to address the coronavirus pandemic.

I will be having a news conference today at 3:00 P.M., The White House. Topic: CoronaVirus!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2020


March 13, 10:06 a.m.: The PGA has cancelled The Masters and has posted a statement to their official Twitter account.

Statement from Chairman Ridley:

"Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone @TheMasters, @anwagolf and @DriveChipPutt National Finals."

Full details at https://t.co/FX2AN1MLsY pic.twitter.com/Z2DjS5TYdG

— The Masters (@TheMasters) March 13, 2020


March 13, 9:10 a.m.: The FDA has granted "emergency use" to a new coronavirus test that could prove to be up to 10-times faster than current tests, as reported by Bloomberg.

Also, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has reopened all its stores in China as cases of the virus steadily decline.

March 13, 3:48 a.m.: Kenya’s Minister of Health Mutahi Kagwe announced that the first case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in the country, reported Reuters. The patient, who was diagnosed March 12, had traveled to Kenya from the U.S. via London.

Kagwe said that the government has taken preventative measures and is monitoring the patient who is stable, reported Standard Media. They are also in the process of tracing all the people who’ve been in contact with the patient. 

March 13, 2:45 a.m.: Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton announced on Friday that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

March 13, 2:08 a.m.: Google reported that an employee from one of its South India offices, in Bengaluru, has been confirmed positive with COVID-19. Employees from the office have been requested to work from home.

March 13, 12:50 a.m.: China's Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, has recorded five new cases on Friday with no locally transmitted infections in the rest of the country, reported ABS-CBN News.

National Health Commission reported that for the second time in a row, the count is less than 10 with the previous day recording 8 cases. "Broadly speaking, the peak of the epidemic has passed for China," commission spokesman Mi Feng said, according to Reuters.

March 12, 10:00 p.m.: Italy's Civil Protection Agency said that the country's death toll from the coronavirus has surged 23% to 1,016 in the past 24 hours, with a total of 5,113 people infected.

March 12, 5:38 p.m.: The opening race of the 2020 Formula One season, Grand Prix in Melbourne scheduled for Sunday, has been canceled amid rising coronavirus fears.

McLaren pulled out of the race after a member of its crew tested positive for coronavirus while in Melbourne.

March 12, 4:45 p.m.: Disneyland (NYSE: DIS) California and California Adventure will close through April starting Saturday.

March Madness has been officially cancelled.

Turner Sports and CBS Sports Joint Statement on Cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament: pic.twitter.com/pBpzxUs5fL

— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2020


March 12, 3:00 p.m.: The U.S. Federal Reserve announced a new plan to pump trillion in additional liquidity into the financial system.

“These changes are being made to address highly unusual disruptions in Treasury financing markets associated with the coronavirus outbreak,” the Fed said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

March 12, 1:35 p.m.: The National Hockey League said it is pausing its 2019-20 regular season due to coronavirus concerns, with 189 games remaining. 

March 12, 1:15 p.m.: Intercontinental Exchange Inc (NYSE: ICE), which owns the NYSE, adopted early precautions to preempt the spread of the coronavirus. It called off tours, blocked visitors and cancelled the traditional executive bell-ringing.

March 12, 12:30 p.m.: Dr Robert Redfield, head of CDC, has committed the department to cover the full cost of testing and isolation for any and all Americans regardless of insurance.

March 12, 12 p.m.: The Big 10 has cancelled the remainder of the Big Ten tournament

The Big Ten Conference announced today that it will be canceling the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, effective immediately.

The Big Ten Conference announced today that it will be canceling the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, effective immediately.https://t.co/MeQMNScXKQ

— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) March 12, 2020


March 12, 11:15 a.m.: Coronavirus expert Dr. Fauci and CDC head Dr. Redfield testify before House

March 12, 11 a.m.: Joe Biden To Address Coronavirus From Hometown

Biden plans to deliver a speech Thursday from his hometown in Wilmington, Del., on the coronavirus pandemic, an effort to show leadership on an issue that has become central to the campaign while President Trump faces criticism for having played down the severity of the global crisis.

March 12, 9 a.m.: Carnival Corp’s (NYSE: CCL) Princess Cruises has taken the initiative and announced a voluntary pause of worldwide cruises for 60 days due to the coronavirus spread.

Princess Cruises says it plans to be back in operation by May 11.

March 12, 7 a.m.: The global coronavirus pandemic is likely to be over by June, according to Zhong Nanshan, the Chinese government’s senior medical adviser.

Also: What You'll Need To Have At Home In Case Of Quarantine

 

March 11, 9:31 p.m.: The NBA suspends its season until further notice after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

March 11, 9:14 p.m.: Actor Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife Rite have contracted the coronavirus.

March 11, 9:05 p.m.: President Donald Trump declared a 30-day travel ban from Europe to the United States, effective March 13.

March 11, 4:45 p.m. ET: NCAA President Mark Emmert said NCAA Division I basketball tournament games will be played without fans in the arenas.

March 11: The World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus as a pandemic. The organization defines a pandemic as a disease that has become widespread around the world. WHO is "deeply concerned" by the "spread and severity" of the virus, said director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom.

All The Major Events Canceled By Coronavirus The Latest: The Latest: MLB and NHL Suspends Seasons Also: Sandler Joins Chorus Of Entertainers To Postpone/Cancel Tours

Adam Sandler decided to postpone his March tour dates. The will offer refunds, but promised that tickets will still be honored at a later date if they are not returned.

Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus has called off a trip to Australia; Madonna shows in Paris have been cancelled after French authorities banned large gatherings; Pearl Jam postponed its U.S. and Canada tour.

For the latest on events cancelled due to coronavirus, go here.

How Coronavirus Has Grown In The U.S.

Below is a snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases in North America as of March 17

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Below is a snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases in North America as of March 13

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Below is a snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases in North America as of March 12

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Below is a snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases in North America as of March 11

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Below is a snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases in North America as of March 10

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Below is a snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases in North America as of March 9

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Below is a snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases in North America as of March 6

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Below is a snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases in North America as of March 5

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Below is a snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases in North America as of March 4. Screenshot courtesy of Johns Hopkins University.

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